Topical Steroid Withdrawal — Drought

How can you avoid developing TSW?

  • Using steroid treatments as instructed by your doctor. Do not exceed the stated dose.

  • Take a break- You should not use steroids daily for more than 2-4 weeks at a time. Or try using your treatment just twice a week. Speak to a medical professional to determine which is best for you.

  • Talk to your prescriber about whether a low or mid-dose steroid treatment will be effective enough for you

  • Avoid sensitive areas. A steroid treatment you have been prescribed for your body, should not be used on your face

  • Look at natural options. Granted- results are unlikely to be as quick as steroids. However, persevere as the long-term and health benefits can be huge. Natural treatments can include moisturising, salt baths (if symptoms are mild), essential oils or dietary changes.

Although I am very cautious about my steroid use (post here- Confession Time- I Still Use Steroids), I do at times get mild TSW symptoms. This tends to appear as a red bumpy rash around my mouth and nose. 

This is my skincare and make-up routine for when I get one of these flare-ups:

  1. Use an ultra-gentle face wash, designed specifically for very sensitive skin. I use Avene every morning and evening

  2. Moisturise with a fragrance-free moisturiser. My favourite is Avene Skin Recovery Cream. designed specifically for very dry and hyper-sensitive skin.

  3. I try and go without make-up when I can, but it’s not always possible. For days when I want to cover up, I start by using Clinique Primer. This smoothes the surface for make-up, as TSW tends to produce dry skin, and a bumpy appearance.

  4. I use Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Foundation. This is high coverage and long-lasting, perfect for covering redness. 

  5. I then gently dab over MAC Concealer. It has a great yellowish tone, ideal for hiding these rashes.

  6. Finally, I lightly press on Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Powder. This evens skin texture and ensures my cover-up lasts all day.

If you think you have developed TSW, you should get that verified by a professional. Sometimes symptoms can be similar to skin condition flare-ups, and this could lead to under-treating these conditions.

If you have confirmed you have TSW, steroid use should be stopped or drastically reduced for a few weeks. Talk to a doctor about alternatives. A cold compress can do wonders for relieving itchiness and stinging. I have also found taking an anti-histamine once a day seems to calm down any rashes. I read that a natural fluoride-free toothpaste helps if you have TSW around your mouth. I gave it a go, but it was at the same time I switched to a natural skin routine so it is hard to know if it made much of a difference! It’s cheap and easy to try though! I use Aloedent Whitening Toothpaste which contains Aloe Vera rather than any harsh chemicals.

TSW can be incredibly mentally draining, and can often involve a lot of self-blame. Make is sure you have the support you need. I have found that TSW doesn’t seem to be that widely acknowledged in the skin condition world, except on Instagram. Instagram has a wonderful community of TSW sufferers, sharing photos, stories and advice. Drought Skin Instagram Page.

As always, if you have any queries or a story to share, we reply to all messages. You can contact us at [email protected]

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